I actually mean that title quite literally. Let me ‘splain (kudos to anyone who can tell me what movie that’s from):
In my last post I stated that I’d passed the 100,000 word mark. Well, as of last night, I passed 110,000. So why did it take me two weeks to write roughly 10,000 words? I was slowing down looking for my pull off.
It’s like when you’re going somewhere you’ve never been and you’re following someone else’s directions. The last thing is usually “turn off on Dutton Road” or whatever. Most of the other directions are pretty easy: you take the Interstate and a major highway, then maybe a back road and so on. But then you have to find their friggin’ driveway, and you’ve never been north of the Mason-Dixon line, let alone in Connecticut. Everything looks strange. For me, it’s like when I went to LA to visit my daughter and we’d go somewhere in the car, with her mom driving: I’m a country boy, and it all looked the same to me. Might as well have been the moon.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at with my novel: there’s a faint light at the end of the tunnel, and I know that when I get out of the tunnel I’m gonna have to find the driveway I need. And I ain’t never been here before.
I’ve known how my novel needed to end from the time I began writing it. Well, actually, I had one ending in mind but, after a discussion with a few people whose opinion I value, I changed it slightly. Same elements, just a little different situation. The point is, I knew where I needed to go, just not exactly how to wrap it all up to get there.
It’s called plotting (heh-heh).
So I had to slow down and figure out how to draw together a somewhat complicated plot in a reasonable way, and somehow let the reader know what happened from a first-person POV when the protagonist doesn’t know everything that’s going on (“And for my next trick, ladies and gentlemen…”)
I’ve had a notebook on my desk for jotting down ideas the entire time. Some of those ideas weren’t used (and won’t be), while others were, but in a different form. Sometimes I get an idea for how to do something and write it down, but when it actually presents itself in the story it ends up being different from how I originally visualized it.
That’s okay, though. I look at this kinda like making a movie: they always shoot more scenes than they’ll need, and I write more scenes than I’ll need. Things that seemed like a good idea but didn’t pan out in the end. For instance, I have an entire section where Lyle meets with a guy who’s gonna help him smuggle meth in new and creative ways, but then he never shows up again. That scene will either end up cut entirely, or I’ll go back on my rewrite and change a few things so he’s at least talked about. Things happen that way sometimes.
What I’m getting at, in a roundabout way, is that I took maybe six or seven days off in that two weeks since my last post, doing some cogitating (it’s an old word, if you don’t know it. Look it up). It was needed, though, and it’s turned out to be for the best. I sat down the other night to transfer all those notes to a Word doc and, in the process, figured out just how to tie things together. I know what I need to do, even if I’m not sure yet how many more scenes it’ll take to get it. I still have a lot to accomplish, and this could end up being a very LONG novel. Which means I might end up beefing it up even more to break it in two (I already have an idea for a sequel in mind. Stay tuned for more details on that. Maybe). It could get up around 130,000 words, and that’s before I go back and add the interludes from the reporter who’s interviewing my guy. Not sure how many words that’ll end up adding.
So there’s what’s been happening the last two weeks or so, and you know (almost) as much as I do. Enjoy.
PS. Jesi, thanks for the award. I’ll have to talk about it in my next post because I’m a little pressed for time today. I will get to it, though, and it means a lot to me that you gave it to me.